A Tale of Two Buyers.by Gary Mitchell on 08/21/15
Much like the Charles Dickens' classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, this story has an interesting twist at the end. I was recently visited by two potential buyers on back to back days, looking for does from which to build a herd.
Buyer #1 was came the first day and was eager to share with me all his knowledge and critique my herd. I am the hardest critic there is on my own animals and have always been that way, so I welcomed his comments. Most good Stockmen are this way. When I inquired about his goals, he did not have an answer. Buyer #1 wanted to handle some of the prospects that we sorted out. As I held them, he proceeded to handle every muscle except the rack and loin, and spent a considerable amount of time handling the chest, belly, and front legs. Although he was unaware of the popular sires of the breed, he was quick to tell me how much he knew about genetics. He had just returned from artificial insemination school, and wanted to correct the way that we synchronize our does in our AI program (despite our 75% conception rate last year, and 91% this year). The 2 does that were his favorites were the 2 fattest ones I had. They were fat because they did not raise kids that year. They are on my cull list and will go to the sale barn when grass runs out. He seemed mad that I would not sell these to him. But, if I cannot make them work, selling them to someone new to the industry probably won't end well either. We did not do any business that day, and as he drove away I thought to myself he is the ideal prey for some of the wolves in our industry.
Buyer #2 had bought a couple of show doe prospects in our online sale last March to start a 4-H project for his kids. They were Grand and Reserve at a tough county fair breeding stock show. He wanted to add a couple of breeding age does to the 4-H project. After he asked lots of questions and took notes for 45 minutes while we looked at does, he said the smartest thing I had heard all week. He said "Gary, you obviously know what you are doing and I am just getting started. Can you pick a couple out for me?"
After asking him about his goals and budget, I chose a 2 year old doe that has National Champions for both parents, that has won has class at several ABGA shows and has half her ennoblement points already; but is a bit thin from raising quads her first time kidding. She is already bred back and passed over to a very popular AI sire. For his next doe, I chose an April yearling that is not quite as big as my December yearlings. Though not quite as big as her older contemporaries, once you know her age, you really appreciate her. I told him that if I were starting a herd, these would be the 2 that I would take. For sure, he got the 2 goats that are the best fit for his goals than anyone other than me could have chosen out of this group. As he drove away, I thought to myself that it will be rewarding to see him succeed in his endeavor.
So at the beginning of this article, I promised an interesting twist. Here is some sage, old advice that has been around much longer than me: It is not ignorance that is the enemy of knowledge, but the illusion of knowledge that prevents one from learning more.